Hello folks, how's tricks? I've been a lady of leisure this week, nursing my poorly knee at home, and it seems to be responding to all the TLC I've been bestowing upon it. My husband has been waiting on me hand and foot, and I could get used to this way of life, except that I would turn into a big fat hippopotamus if I sat on my bottom any more. While I've been at home, I've made quite a few pieces of jewellery - better this, than the devil making work for idle hands!
These beads were in my mail when I got home from Madrid - they are frosted opalite glass, and have an aurora borealis coating on one side. When they rotate on the beading wire and the light catches them they shine with an unearthly glow - I just love them. I made simple necklaces with beautiful clasps, using little seed beads as spacers. There are two necklaces - one of them is a pale white, and the other is grey. The paler one is already spoken for, but I actually prefer the darker one. What do you think??
Kalachakra literally means The Wheel of Time - the tradition revolves around the concept of time (kāla) and cycles (chakra): from the cycles of the planets to the cycles of human breathing, and it teaches the practice of working with the most subtle energies within one's body on the path to nirvana. I'm afraid I'm too much of a simpleton to understand the depths of these spiritual arguments, all I know is that these ghau boxes are particularly beautiful (and expensive). I've been looking out for one of them in my price range for ages and ages, and when this one came up, I snapped it up. This was the vendors last one unfortunately, and he didn't think he'd have any more anytime soon. I wanted the pendant to be the focal point, so I made a very simple necklace to carry it.
'I haven't made anything with wire in ages,' I thought, so I picked up a frosted grey crackled agate and set it in a wire surround - I had a tiny cloisonne dragonfly from China, and I wired it onto the pendant. Here's one of my favourites, Laura Fygi singing Fly Me to the Moon, in French - it was of course one of Frank SInatra's numbers and is very much a classic. The pendant is based on a Nicole Hanna design - I cut too much wire and ended up making more swirls and layers than the original design, but I wasn't going to waste the wire I'd cut, no siree!
Raw citrine nuggets resemble brown cane sugar - the closer the festival season gets in India, the more this form of sugar is available in large blocks so that housewives can make sweets for the household, and for distribution to friends - at least that's the way it was in my childhood. Today, it is much easier to go to a sweet shop and order ready packaged sweets to send out to friends. In a moment of pure nostalgia, I picked up the citrine that had been sitting around for ages. I put them with quartz needles and moldavite and crystal spacers. A little peridot box clasp was a beautiful finishing touch.
And finally ..... Another Ghau Box .....
I love ghau boxes - I think you might have noticed that by now. I think it's the child in me that delights in the thought of an invisible compartment with my little secrets hidden away, while everyone thinks it is just another pendant. Here's another one - it's the last one in my stash, I promise. I made the Buddha mala beads earlier - they are decorated with gold foil and antiqued to give a faux raku look.
That's me for this week, folks. I'm happy to report that my knee is much better. I'm going to work this weekend, and if they stand up to it, I will go back to work full time, next week.
Have a lovely week and I'll catch you next week, same time, same place.
Hello folks, how are you? I hope you've fared better than I have this week gone by. Mike and I went to Madrid on a short pre winter city break, but unfortunately I couldn't enjoy too much of it as one of my knees gave me so much trouble, I sat most of the holiday out. We got back after four days and I'm off to the hospital to have my knees checked out, having seen my GP this afternoon.
Perforce, I spent the whole of the first day relaxing on the roof terrace, soaking up the late summer sun and resting my poorly knee. Fortunately it was a nice place to sit and I wasn't confined to the hotel bedroom, which would have been terrible.
After a couple of days resting on the rooftop and getting a feel for the city in a car driven by a really nice man who spoke perfect English and was able to show us around the city, the knee was marginally better, and we managed to do a bit of sightseeing, with many pit stops in between. Fortunately there were loads of taxis in the city and we flagged them down to ferry us from one place to the next. I even managed a bit of shopping at El Cortes Ingles, which is my favourite place to shop in Spain.
We went to Retiro Park and had churros and hot chocolate at a little kiosk- it was too warm to do much else but I managed a couple of pictures of people enjoying themselves, before we left. We went to the Museo Reina Sofia to see Picasso's Guernica and a couple of Kandinsky's they had hanging there. I couldn't do too much more walking so we ended up at the Westin Palace Hotel for afternoon tea. I'd read so much about the beautiful rotunda in the central dining room that I just had to go and take a look at it.
We went to Les Cafe Chinitas to watch the flamenco dancers, and Cafe Central to listen to a Spanish Brass band, as well as a little place in the Chueca district called El Despertar for some jazz. All the apartments in Madrid seem to have their lights switched off all evening - everyone is out on the streets till late at night - we stayed up every night till about 2am and there were still people walking about on the streets and sitting at the various bars and cafes where food is served till late.
And just as my knee was getting less painful (or, I was managing it better), it was time to come back home, to the GPs surgery and an Xray tomorrow morning. Who knows what's in store - the GP was talking about cortisone injections and I will see an orthopaedic surgeon tomorrow once the X Rays are available.
I'm keeping everything crossed and hopefully things will settle down. Have a fabulous week folks, and I'll catch you next weekend, at the usual time.
Hello people, I hope all is well with you today and that you've had a good week. We had a Bank Holiday this Monday and of course, this means guaranteed poor weather in the UK - that's almost a given! Time off is not to be sneezed at however, and I took full advantage of it. Hubby and I vegged out in front of the telly watching movies back to back, me with a bead tray in my lap. True bliss, and just my kind of relaxation.
I started a Goddess pendant a few weeks ago, but put it aside as I got too busy for a while. I decided that I was going to finish it over the long weekend and started to channel all the Goddesses I know of into the piece.
It will soon be time for the major celebrations in the Indian calendar, marking the triumph of good over evil in one form or another. The first one is the Durga pooja, which marks the battle of goddess Durga with the shape-shifting, deceptive and powerful demon disguised as a buffalo, Mahishasura, and her emerging victorious (well, of course - did you really think a demon who could only think of a buffalo disguise could be allowed to win, over a woman with eight arms, each one carrying a Lethal Weapon?).
The festival epitomises the victory of good over evil, but it also is in part a harvest festival that marks the goddess as the power behind all of life and creation. It lasts for ten days and is both a social and religious event. Soon after this comes Diwali, another popular festival, which spiritually signifies the victory of light over darkness, good over evil and knowledge over ignorance. This celebration includes millions of lights shining on housetops, outside doors and windows, around temples and other buildings in the communities where it is observed. The festival preparations and rituals typically extend over a five day period.
Those of us who are non believer heathens still enjoy the over the top colour and craziness, and the fifteen days of the holiday period are a time when families bond over food and sweets, children set off firecrackers and a lot of fun is to be had - you can tell I'm looking at this through a retrospectoscope!
In reality, all government offices are closed so official business ceases and if you cannot get your work scheduled between the end of Diwali and Christmas, you are royally sc%&%ed and have to wait for the next year when everyone is back at their desks (also through the retrospectoscope!!).
My Goddess is non denominational, and has a beautiful crown of Czech dagger beads, and a halo of individually wrapped crystals. She is over embellished, as goddesses are with shiny crystals and fringes and is delightfully over the top. I call her Shakti, which means strength and have her on a simple necklace of yellow agate beads.
The Xian Kun Necklace
This week was a week of symbolism, runes and icons. I bought a medallion from a Tibetan trader - this is a man's waist amulet with Bagua symbols. Bagua symbols are used in Taoist cosmology to represent the fundamental principles of reality, seen as a range of eight interrelated concepts representing opposing forces or elements - Yin and Yang. The Bagua is an essential tool in the majority of Feng Shui schools.
The amulet was rather large, so to balance it I added three strands of chevron beads, yellow agate and turquoise to make a necklace that would stand out a mile - definitely one for when you want to be noticed.
The Siren's Song
I saw images of an Indian silver comb used as a pendant on various sites and I made it my goal to track one down when I was last in India. I researched it earlier, and apparently the combs are reproductions of Rajasthani hair or beard perfume combs.
"The top of the comb is hollow, and contains a well which may be filled with perfume or perfumed oil. This is closed off by a decorative finial, which acts as a stopper. It unscrews so that the chamber may be filled. The central chamber is pieced by small holes, set between the fine metal teeth. By this means the perfume is then dispersed in small amounts as the comb is drawn through the hair." Ruby Lane
Unfortunately this replica is not hollow and cannot hold perfume, however, it is just as pretty as the real thing. I held on to it for ages and then decided the time had come to set it free and strung it with bright red coral and silver beads in a very beautiful necklace.
Sirens were beautiful women, with long hair who sat on the rocks, combing their tresses and singing sweet songs, luring unwary listeners who passed by in their ships onto the rocks. This is a painting by John William Waterhouse who was an English painter in the early twentieth century. His artworks were known for their depictions of women from both ancient Greek mythology and Arthurian legend. I can imagine this siren combing her long tresses with the comb from the necklace, singing soulfully while she perfumes her hair.
I'm not sure what the sirens had against thee poor sailors, and why they didn't spend their time more gainfully, but they sure looked pretty in spite of being murderous at heart.
That's me for this week folks, I'm now off to pack for my pre winter holiday. Have a great week and I'll be back with you next weekend, although a bit later than usual,
Hello folks, how are you today? It's been an odd sort of a nowhere and nothing week here - totally unremarkable, with not much happening out and about around me. The weather has turned decidedly cooler but it's not yet time for our annual holiday. I've felt as if I've just been marking time, waiting for something to happen. I got a subscription to Amazon Prime having given up on Netflix which seemed to have only B movies and watched movies back to back after work. One of those I watched was Frida, a biopic of Frida Kahlo, played beautifully by Salma Hayek.
Some of you might remember that I went to see an exhibition of Kahlo's artefacts and dresses in the Museum of Modern Art in Milan. She is an iconic figure, who knew how to dress for effect; the flowers and ribbons in her hair, the chunky rustic jewellery, embroidered blouses and Mexican skirts in vivid colours - Kahlo really understood the power of image. Reportedly, she spent hours in front of the mirror, and regularly enjoyed the chance to shop - as well as commissioning the making of particular garments. Throughout her life she used her wardrobe choices as a means to play with perception, helping to define how she occupied space as a woman, as well as an artist. Frida Kahlo’s image resonates to this day. She is frequently referenced online, with those startling portraits reposted frequently.
In particular her love for flowers worn distinctively in her hair as a tiara right on top of her head are extremely iconic, bold, brilliant, and often joyous: part armour, part mirror, part performance, part visual language and I decided to make a necklace inspired by them.
The teardrop shaped coral beads when strung together, appear like a garland of petals. I picked a string of beads that matched the coral in a pendant I had in my stash, For once I picked out all the elements I meant to use in the necklace, and put them together in a sort of 'mood board'.
I usually start with one element and pull the others out of my collection of beads and findings randomly when I open a drawer and they stand up and yell for attention, but this time, I was a bit more organised, having thought things through.
The pendant, of silver, came from Indonesia and has a beautiful slice of lapis lazuli and a turquoise cabochon, with the little coral dangle I mentioned earlier.
Last week I made faux amber beads from polymer clay and this week I put the necklace together with the Tagemout pendant. The lady I made it for was gratifyingly appreciative when I sent her photographs and it is winging its way to her as I type.
The young lady in this picture in one of Caprilicious' best friends - she sent me this picture of her wearing one of her many statement pieces, on her way to a show in London. I love it when people send me pictures in their Caprilicious statements. The smile on their faces gives me such a buzz.
Another of my repeat customers wrote to me saying how gutted she was to have missed out on owning this necklace. This lady has recently had an operation on her knee and I felt she really needed a boost to her spirits, so I made her another one.
When people enjoy their Caprilicious Jewellery and come back for more, they touch a chord in my heart - to love Caprilicious is to love me, as after all, it is my alter ego - a tiny piece of me goes into every piece of jewellery I make.
That's me for this week, folks. Have a lovely week, and I'll catch you next weekend, same time, same place.
Hello good people of the internet world, thank you for dropping by today. I hope you've had a good week and enjoyed every moment of it. The days have gone cooler and there have been sprinklings of rain, but in general, the UK is still basking in the glorious summer we've had this year. I've almost forgotten about what it feels like in winter, and who knows what is to come with all the anxieties about global warming.
I wrote a tutorial for Bead and Jewellery Magazine in early 2017 called Sunflower Smile - to write the tutorial, I had to photograph the steps as I went along, and then, once the article was accepted, send the finished product to the magazine for it to be professionally photographed. The tutorial was published and the beads returned to me.
I've had the sunflowers since then - I used one and the necklace was picked up at the Handmade Fair. SInce then I've run into a complete block about what to do with the other two.
I bought some grey agate druzy slab nuggets a few weeks ago and when they arrived I wanted to make something entirely different with them - different from anything I've ever made, and different from anything anyone else is likely to make. I think I've achieved my goals with this piece - there can't be that many polymer clay sunflower and slab bead necklaces in the world!
Sweet Sunflower Smile
The colourful beads at the back add a bit of zing! to the piece.
In Greek mythology, Apollo – that handsome god of the sun – was the subject of adoration of a nymph who sat and gazed at him every day. Eventually, the gods took pity on her and turned that nymph into a sunflower, which is why sunflowers always appear to be yearning for the sun.
Sunflower centres are actually made up of thousands of tiny flowers, which then grow into seeds. It is said that if you place a sunflower seed under your pillow, you'll wake up and discover the answer to any question on your mind.
The Morning After
The markings on the pale grey dragon's vein agate in this necklace look like a bloodshot eye, the morning after a great night out on the razzle. The blue agate has a bit of light tracery running through it as well and together, they make a very pretty picture. The two brushed metal beads and the sweet little clasp set with a black onyx only make it prettier. Once again I rescued a potentially drab grey necklace, this time with touches of blue and silver.
One of my clients requested a necklace with a Tagemout bead - she saw one I made earlier and asked for a similar piece. It took me ages to find a suitable Tagemout, and I spent some time over the weekend making the faux amber beads in the necklace.
Polymer clay is a chameleon substance which is readily manipulated to resemble glass, gemstones, amber and other materials.
The Moroccan Tagemout bead was strung with faux amber in the necklace I made a couple of years ago.
Amber doesn't surface in the Sahara, due to a scarcity of ancient pine forests and was formed on the shores of the Baltic Sea in northern Europe and shipped onwards through Italy. It was packed onto the backs of camels by indigo-shrouded Tuareg traders, who carried them deep into the desert to exchange for gold.
These faux amber beads are meant to be old, and fashioned some time back in the 19th century. Their surfaces have a crazed and weathered patina and appear broken and repaired. Many have been broken in half parallel to the stringing hole. Tiny strips of decorative silver are hammered across the break to make them whole. Little pieces of 'coral and turquoise' are inserted into the niches in the 'amber' as a decoration. The beads are now ready to be made up into a necklace, possibly next week.
Translucent clay coloured with alcohol inks and embossing powder.
The beads were rolled, embellished and cured.
Each bead was sanded with 3 successive grits of sandpaper, and antiqued
Buffed and polished, and finally ready to use.
So, there you are then. That's what I've been up to this week. What have you been doing? Do tell.
Have a fabulous week and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place.
Hello folks, thanks for coming back to the Caprilicious blog. I'm looking forward to this weekend - for the first time in ages, I'm not on call at work, or entertaining, or needing to go somewhere - just chilling, and the anticipation feels great.
Last weekend I had old schoolmates come to our annual reunion and we had a great time, but I was a bit exhausted after entertaining folks on two consecutive weekends. Fortunately, I had the sense to book the Monday off to recover.
However, I found time to create a couple of necklaces during the week - it was a case of assembling them, really, as I'd created them in my mind a while ago.
A Touch of Elegance
I found the little silver dragonfly pendant while I was looking for something else altogether and knew I had to have it. The little orange sodalite teardrop that dangles from it is exceedingly pretty, too.
Sodalite is a deep blue mineral named after its sodium content. Orange sodalite is a special variety with its calcite inclusions, usually white, and contains iron, presenting a beautiful rosey orange glow. This stone was first discovered in Greenland in 1811 and is now being mined in Africa. Sodalite is said to help bring rational thinking, inner peace, and a calming energy to its wearer.
Keshi or 'cornflake' pearls are small non-nucleated pearls typically formed as by-products of pearl cultivation. A pearl is formed when a substance such as a piece of shell becomes embedded in a mollusc such as an oyster. A type of infection ensues, and the oyster heals itself by developing a layer of nacre over the intruding substance, walling it off from the irritant. Layers of nacre continue to form as long as the oyster is alive, and the result is a pearl.
The Keshi pearl forms when the oyster spits out the nucleus before the development of the pearl has had the opportunity to finish. 'Ptooey' goes the oyster, and a Keshi pearl is formed!!
The second piece I made was to showcase a slab nugget of agate druzy that has been electroplated with titanium. I added large clear quartz beads that are hand faceted and separated them with haematite beads that are also electroplated. Druzy crystal is a configuration of many tiny sparkling crystals on the surface of a bulky crystalline body. The geological process that forms a druzy occurs when water brings minerals onto a rock's surface. When the water evaporates, the minerals are left behind to form crystals on top of the rock. With its multitude of tiny crystals, druzy possesses a reflective surface reminiscent of sugar or snow. It can be coated with titanium or other metallic vapour to create various iridescent finishes. Druzy crystal is considered to bestow strength and promote fresh ideas to guide an individual’s growth. It is also connected with harmony, patience, and optimistic love.
The piece turned out so glamorous that I called it Sophia, after the most glamorous woman I know of - Sophia Loren!!
That's me for this week, folks. I'm now going to get some more shut eye and slob around in my PJ's for most of this weekend as I'm back to the daily grind come next week. Have a fabulous week, and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place.
Hello folks, thanks for dropping by at Caprilicious Jewellery today.
The skies finally opened and rained poured from the clouds, but unfortunately for me the lovely heat wave broke on the day I had people coming round to our place for a barbeque.
The day before the barbecue I downloaded the BBC weather app and the Accuweather app and spent anxious moments between prepping the food anxiously swapping between the two. The rain poured as if it had all been stored up for that one day. However, there was a happy ending - it stopped raining just as the guests arrived and we relaxed in the garden.
Fire and Ice
The anxiety of the weather watch exhausted me and it took me a while to recover. A rummage through my stash of beads soon inspired me to make a necklace that I long had in mind to create. The lava beads in this necklace appear spongy from the time when bubbles of gas escaped from them as the magma boiled and flowed from the volcano where they came from. The icy blue quartz beads are gently faceted and provide a perfect foil to the black lava beads. A box clasp set with a blue topaz finishes the necklace beautifully.
Journey to the Centre of the Earth
Perhaps a strange name for a necklace? Well, this is a novel written by Jules Verne which inspired a video game of the same name. The story is set in Iceland which is such a mystical, magical place that it seemed to me that the geodes of amethyst used in this necklace could easily have come from there. I racked my brains as to what I could use as a focal point to the necklace without detracting from the beauty of the geodes. These beads are very hard to come by and I've been looking for them for years. They are relatively expensive and I thought long and hard before I hit the 'pay' button. However, I'd wanted them for ages, and searched so hard for them that I had to have them. I put the string of beads away, taking them out at regular intervals and stroking them, turning them over in my hands like Gollum. And now, I've released them from my stash with the addition of a silver amulet.
The geode beads appear as if they have been tipped with ice crystals and I just love the way they look. No photograph can do them justice, and my skills aren't good enough to show off the beauty of these geodes. You'll just have to take my word for it. The necklace sits close to the neck and is finished with a toggle clasp, and in my opinion, it is one of the most beautiful pieces I have made.
That's me for today, folks. Have a great week, and I'll catch you next week, same time, same place.
Good day, readers. Thanks for joining me at Chez Caprilicious. What can I say, the sun is still shining (for now) and the bees are buzzing, and everyone is happy. Apart from a few curmudgeons, that is - those who are grumbling about being fed up of the heat and wanting the rain to come back. Well, they won't have to wait long, as the weather is expected to break this afternoon, with thundershowers predicted - and of course, as we don't do things by halves, there may even be flash floods! Still, we've had a straight run of almost four weeks of pure, undiluted sunshine and being able to wear our summer clothes without cardigans and sweaters over them.
I normally make colourful jewellery, but the weather over the week just gone by has inspired me to ratchet up my love for vibrancy to an even higher level. My first piece is made from turquoise dyed magnesite. The beads are slab nuggets, with the holes going through the centre of each bead so that they stack up beautifully, giving the necklace a texture that is quite unique. I added a chunk of raw amethyst to the centre of the necklace, adding to it's tactility and called it Ferideh, which is an old Arabic name, meaning 'unique'. A few Nepalese beads inlaid with coral and turquoise added even more colour to the piece. I loved it so much that I borrowed the necklace to wear at an interview - as an interviewer, I hasten to add. My days of being an interviewee are long gone, hopefully.
And as if Ferideh wasn't colourful enough, I took inspiration for the next piece from the Pushkar camel fair in Rajasthan. The caravans of camels are so highly decorated that they manage to alter the dry desert landscape for the duration. I used a Nepalese pendant and added all the colourful howlite I had in my stash to create this one. The aim is for the wearer to feel confident, glamorous, and sure of herself, knowing that she is dressed to attract attention and compliments. One couldn't help but feel fabulous in this piece, in my opinion.
I thought I'd play you a rendition of Caravan as sung by one of my favourite singers, Laura Fygi - I have all her albums and they are all uniformly fabulous. I hope to be able to hear her live someday but she doesn't seem to come to the UK, so we'll have to go over to wherever she's playing a gig. She sings in a multitude of European languages and I think I prefer her songs in French than English - do Google her and see what you think.
That's me for this week folks, thanks for dropping by. Have a wonderful week and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place.
Hello folks, thank you for coming back to Caprilicious today. I'm happy to report that the sun is still shining over the UK - we've had the best summer since 1976 apparently, and it is set to continue for at least six weeks more. I have to say there's nothing like England when it's warm and sunny - if it were always like this, we'd never go abroad.
The fly in the ointment is that the reservoirs are running dry and we are looking a hosepipe ban squarely in the eye - if that happens our gardens will go dry and brown, rather than the beautiful verdant green England is famous for. We forget so easily that to be green, lawns need the rain! Just now we are still allowed to water our plants and Mike does so diligently, hence the scene above, photographed yesterday.
As I mentioned last week, I was gifted a ticket to Paul Simon's Farewell Tour concert in Hyde Park, at which James Taylor was his warm up act. We stood listening to these two giants play for over five hours and my feet are still recovering from that ordeal. As it was the day of the World Cup, Wimbledon finals, and a beautiful warm day to boot, London was heaving with tourists. The concert was fabulous, and I came home sad that Paul Simon was retiring, but happy that I'd been there to cheer him on his way.
The warm weather is bringing back memories of my life in India and the colours of the East are prevalent in my pieces of jewellery this week. It has in recent years, become quite fashionable for those who wear statement necklaces to look towards Eastern influences in their choice of apparel. Colourful jackets, scarves and even trousers (remember harem pants?), have become commonplace, and an East meets West vibe is now quite the thing, especially with linens and lagenlook clothing.
The pendant was handmade by artisans in the border area of Tibet and Nepal, and is inlaid with coral, lapis lazuli and turquoise, and filled with scroll work. The amount of workmanship in the pieces that originate from this area is mind boggling. I have been to a jewellery makers workshop in Nepal a number of years ago, and remember the artisans putting in the inlay work after painstakingly soldering in the scrolled metal, one piece at a time.
The pendants in the necklaces I make are purchased from Fair Trade sources, ensuring that the artisans are paid the right price for their labours.
Naila is a girl who you think is the most gorgeous, beautiful girl you have ever met. Someone who has changed you and made you a better person. She has the best sense of humor out of everyone you know and she has the greatest personality that can brighten your day .........
I made this necklace with matte cylinders of lapis lazuli which are hard to come by, and found accidentally when I was recently looking for matte amethyst beads. I added coral cylinders and a ghau box pendant inlaid with turquoise and coral which brightened the piece to my satisfaction. With the addition of a beautiful box clasp from Jaipur, the piece was good to go - simple but effective, as the best pieces often are.
That's me for this week folks. I'm off to enjoy the garden in the fabulous sunshine. I'm working all next weekend, so I'd better make the most of it!
Have a fabulous week, and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place.
Hello folks, thanks for joining me today. The UK is still basking in sunshine, although some spoilsports are beginning to mutter about droughts and hose pipe bans - one wouldn't believe we live on an island, surrounded by water. I suppose it's all 'water water everywhere and not a drop to drink'!! This week work at the day job has been extra busy and I've spent time in the garden in the remnants of the sun of an evening. This has meant that I've had no time at all for my magnificent obsession and my output has been a big fat zero! However, for those of you who follow the blog, I thought I'd bring you an article I wrote, which was published in 2017 in the journal of the Indian Catholic Association of Central Texas. The Journal was called A Taste of India : Jewels of India.
The proceeds from the sale of the journal went to Mobile Loaves and Fishes, Austin, Texas; victims of Hurricane Harvey, and the Indian Missionary Society, Rahagora and Sevalaya, Belgaum.
When one of the ladies on the editorial board asked me to contribute an article I was thrilled, but I thought I'd make it clear to them that I did not subscribe to any organised religion at all. As she didn't seem to mind too much, I put this little article together.
A Magnificent Obsession - a Potted History of Jewellery in India
Neena Shilvock is a cat person, obstetrician and gynaecologist, and jewellery designer and maker, in no particular order. Given the choice, she would paint the world in happy, bright, rainbow colours and her jewellery is consequently as high visibility as her world vision. She imagines that she is an introvert and that her jewellery speaks for her, but others beg to differ. Either way, her designs are interesting and unusual, her eye for colour is unerring, her workmanship excellent, and her choice of materials unconventional. Her jewellery suits the soul of the sophisticated extrovert and bashful introverts will find that wearing Caprilicious endows them with the magical ability to stand up and be counted.
She can be found at www.capriliciousjewellery.com and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/CapriliciousJewellery .
Twelve shell beads discovered in a cave in eastern Morocco were dated at more than 80,000 years old. The beads are coloured with red ochre and show signs of being strung together. The beads found in Morocco aren't the oldest in existence. That honour belongs to two tiny shells discovered in Israel in the 1930s and dated at 100,000 years old. The shells are pierced with holes and were probably also hung as pendants or necklaces.
The earliest Indian jewellery was found in the ruins of the Indus Valley civilisation, going back 5000 years. The wide range of jewellery worn by both genders can be seen in sculptures in temples and shrines, and there are records of jewellery in various epics and texts dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries.
Gold and precious gems were used as a crude form of banking, with the owners
converting their money into ornaments that could be sold on during hard times. For Indian women, jewellery was considered a social and economic security, the value of which would only appreciate with time.
Particular types of gemstones were thought to protect against specific ailments or threats and the evil eye. Each stone was endowed with a mystical quality and used as a protection against evil forces. The navaratna or nine gems, each representing a planet, are worn in a particular order, to this day.
For more than 2,000 years, India was the sole supplier of gemstones to the world. Golconda diamonds, sapphires from Kashmir and pearls from the Gulf of Mannar were coveted, and drew merchants across land and sea to India.
Temple jewellery in South India, was originally used to adorn idols and temple dancers. The pieces are chunky but intricate, adorned with gemstones, floral and paisley patterns, and often figurines of the god they adorn. They are now worn by classical dancers who have brought them out of the temples into the wider world.
The Turkish influence came to India via the Mughals, who brought enamel work, uncut stones, pearl tassels, and aigrettes; turban ornaments for both men and women, to the north of India.
The Islamic influence mainly remained in the north, with the exception of Hyderabad in the south where the Nizam and his wives were avid collectors of the most beautiful pieces of jewellery adorned with stunning rubies, emeralds and diamonds. Jewellery made in Turkey today still has a lot of similarity to pieces made in India and this is due to the Turkish origins of the Mughal empire.
Gold was traditionally the most commonly used metal in India for a long time, especially among people who considered jewellery an investment. Eventually it became too expensive for the ordinary man and ‘one gram gold’ pieces, which are essentially gold plated silver came into being. Women traditionally buy gold at festivals such as Diwali and the one gram gold ornament allowed them to keep up with the Joneses.
The younger, more contemporary woman, who eschews values such as buying gold as an investment however, prefers to buy silver ornaments. The rustic village/gypsy/Banjara look is very trendy today and silver jewellery is seen as a compromise - a precious metal that has value, albeit not as much as gold, but can yet be handed down to future generations as an heirloom piece.
Eventually, even the price of silver shot up, and ‘German Silver’ copies of silver ornaments became popular. These are cheap and almost throwaway pieces that can be used on a few occasions, after which they begin to look and smell strange due to the tarnishing of the formulation of 60% copper, 20% nickel and 20% zinc.
India has had a long association with costume jewellery - glass beads, semi precious gemstone beads, rudraksh, sandalwood and other wood beads, flower garlands and bracelets, tiger claws and teeth, yak teeth, shells, amber, coral, bone and ivory are some of the more traditional materials used.
Western apparel has become popular and many ladies have gravitated towards a more Western look for their jewellery. This has happened almost serendipitously, at the time when precious metals became too expensive to buy on a whim, akin to the time in the western word when costume jewellery became very fashionable in the 1950s, in particular when film stars gave it credibility.
Women have found that they can buy colourful, limited edition jewellery and look fabulous in them without having to pay the earth, and what’s more, these pieces will stand the test of time. It is important to a lot of women to be different and stand out from the crowd, and for them the handcrafted, personalised piece of jewellery is ideal.
Contemporary Indian jewellery wearers are poised at the point of rejecting the one-size-fits-all outcome of traditional manufacturing and there is a growing taste for customisation and work of a more individual nature. Artisan made jewellery has now grown very popular as have craft markets and online shopping; the world-wide-web has made shopping for indie jewellery so much easier and fun.
The new Indian woman requires each piece of apparel she wears to be different, as unique as herself, and it’s maker.
I hope you enjoyed that little read. I have friends visiting me all weekend, and on Sunday, a friend has bought me a ticket to see Paul Simon on his farewell tour in Hyde Park. I have actually watched him play at the same venue a few years ago with the boys from Ladysmith Black Mombazo and it was great, so I'm really looking forward to a repeat performance.
Have a fabulous weekend and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place.